Believe it or not, the Golf Channel reality show The Big Break has been around for nearly a decade. The Big Break I aired in October 2003 and the most recent, The Big Break Mexico, which is the 19th season, is currently airing on the network.
The competition show invites golf hopefuls to battle it out for the opportunity to earn exemptions into various professional tournaments. Like many other reality shows—America's Next Top Model comes to mind—the players on the show have had marginal success on the pro tours.
That's not to say they've all been terrible; there have been a handful of competitors who have impressed. But it certainly seems that when it comes to female contestants, the Golf Channel tends to have a "form over function" approach to casting.
Well...what they lack in professional wins, they more than make up for in the looking good in a bikini department. You probably didn't even know that was a department.
Let's take a look at the hottest golfers ever on The Big Break.
Becky Lucidi appeared as a contestant on The Big Break V: Hawaii. She was eliminated in Episode 10, which put her in fifth place. Having won the U.S. Women's Amateur event in 2002 and a national championship at USC, she was the most accomplished of her competitors that season.
Lucidi earned her LPGA Tour Card in 2007, but shortly after learned she would require a pacemaker after a visit to the cardiologist revealed heart valve issues. She was exempt from her first year of play in 2008, and ultimately decided to end her professional career. Lucidi is married to golf pro Adam McDaid; the couple welcomed their first child in 2011.
Courtney Erdman competed on The Big Break Ka'anapali; she finished in seventh place. Erdman played collegiate golf at the College of the Canyons and turned pro upon graduating in 2006. She's currently a PGA Apprentice at a golf course in California and is no longer competing on the pro circuit.
Erdman's husband, Kevin, followed in her footsteps by competing on The Big Break Disney Golf in the fall of 2009. He made it to the finale, but ultimately finished third. He works at the same Altadena golf course as his wife. The couple were profiled in Southland Golf Magazine in December 2009.
Katie Ruhe was the third contestant eliminated on The Big Break V: Hawaii. She actually played on the boys team in high school before going on to play collegiate golf at the University of South Florida.
According to her bio, Ruhe joined the Futures Tour in 2004 and the following year her average score had improved by an impressive five strokes. But that's about all the information available—it looks like she hasn't played at all in the last several years.
Kristina Tucker appeared as a contestant on The Big Break V: Hawaii; in Episode 7 she became the fifth player eliminated. She turned pro in 2007, two years after the season aired. She enjoyed brief success on the LPGA Tour with a win on the Futures Tour's El Paso Golf Classic in May 2008.
She has since shelved her professional career to focus on raising her young son and settling happily into domesticity. A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Tucker played her collegiate golf at Duke, which is where she met her husband Paul Tucker, who is currently playing at the amateur level.
Whitney Wright was a contestant on The Big Break Ireland; sadly she was the very first player eliminated in Episode 1. She was a four-year starter at Florida State and played in four ACC Championships and two NCAA Regional Championships while there.
Wright married college boyfriend after graduating in 2008; a Norwegian who played on the men's team at FSU. She's been playing on the LPGA Futures Tour the last two years and is still working towards securing her LPGA Tour card.
Elizabeth Stuart competed as a contestant on The Big Break: Ka'anapali. She was eliminated quite early in the season, having survived just four episodes before getting the boot.
Stuart played collegiate golf at Florida International and went pro in 2006. She made eight of 19 cuts on the Futures Tour in 2007 but hasn't really competed much since then. Stuart is currently working as an Assistant Golf Pro at a country club in Minnesota.
Ashley Prange appeared on (and won!) The Big Break V: Hawaii in 2006. After winning she played for awhile on the LPGA Futures Tour, where she had 25 top-10 finishes but no wins. She had more success as a college player at UNC, with three individual victories.
More recently she's transitioned from player to coach—because you know what they say about those who can't do! In October 2011 she was named the golf coach at Jacksonville University and the following summer she accepted an assistant coaching position at UCF.
Briana Vega appeared as a contestant on The Big Break VI: Trump National and won the whole damn thing. She's been playing professionally since 2005 and is currently on the LPGA Futures Tour. Her career earnings are approaching $60K.
Although she began playing at a very early age, Vega actually didn't get serious about golf until high school; she was named All State for the girls team and second team All State for the boys. That success led to a scholarship to NC State and the rest, as they say, is history.
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Tina Miller competed on The Big Break: Ka'anapali, the ninth season of the show which aired in 2008. She was eliminated in week six of the competition, putting her in eighth place. She hoped her appearance on the show would jumpstart her stalled career.
Miller played collegiate golf at the University of Miami, where she had seven victories, including a Big East Championship in 2003. Miller played professionally for three years on the LPGA Futures Tour but hasn't competed in four years.
Kelly Jacques appeared as a contestant on Big Break Ireland, which aired in the fall of 2011. She and Bennett Maki were both eliminated in Episode 4. Jacques is currently competing on the LPGA Tour, apparently having overcome some serious anger issues that have plagued her since junior high.
She has always been hard on herself for losing and struggled with controlling her temper. Jacques used to beat herself up—sometimes physically inflicting injury on herself with a club—but has since found religion and some semblance of self-control. She's doing well today and hopes to build on her $15,000 career earnings.
Bridget Dwyer appeared as a contestant on The Big Break VI: Trump National in 2006, which was the sixth season of the golf channel reality competition. She finished in third place, being eliminated one episode prior to the season finale.
Between 2001 and 2008 Dwyer played on various professional tours, including: the Futures Tour, Canadian Tour, Chinese Tour and the West Coast Tour. But she has since dropped off the map; Dwyer hasn't competed professionally in five years.
Jeanne Cho was the runner-up on The Big Break Hawaii in 2006. Prior to the show she had received All-SEC honors as a freshman and junior at the University of Florida. Cho had five top-10 finishes on the Futures Tour from 2004-06, and five wins on the Suncoast Series from 2007-09.
She worked as the Coordinator of Corporate Marketing for the PGA Tour for a stretch before accepting an assistant coaching position at Duke in August 2010. Accepting the position marked the end of her professional career—Cho is now in her fourth season as a Duke assistant.
Kim Welch had been playing professionally for three years on the Duramed Futures Tour when she won The Big Break: Ka'anapali. She played her collegiate golf at Washington State, where she was a "powerhouse," having won 11 tournaments and finished in the top 10 and epic 29 times.
Although Welch went pro back in 2005, she just recently earned her LPGA Tour Card. In addition to earning her 2013 Tour card, she sunk a hole-in-one on the 14th hole of the RR Donnelley's LPGA Founders Cup this past March. It's been a pretty good year for Welch, a star on the rise.
Ryan O'Toole appeared as a contestant on The Big Break Sandals Resort. She was the fifth person eliminated and exited on Episode 5 of the season. Having played her collegiate golf at UCLA, she turned pro upon graduation in 2009. Her career earnings have topped $300,000 in just two years.
O'Toole is a Futures Tour and Symetra Tour alumnae. After finishing in the top 10 of the 2011 U.S. Women's Open, her status on the LPGA Tour improved substantially, providing her entry to a wide range of tournaments. And a sponsorship deal with Oakley suggests things are going well for O'Toole these days.
Elena Robles appeared as a contestant on The Big Break Sandals Resort in 2010; she finished in last place and was eliminated on the first episode of the season. She played collegiate golf at Ferris State University.
Robles turned pro in 2009 and is currently touring on the LPGA's Symetra Tour. According to the tour website, she hasn't accrued any career winnings, but she had her first top-10 finish at the 2012 Arizona Women's Cup.
Cirbie Sheppard was the first contestant eliminated on The Big Break Ka'napali. In her bio she is described as the "least-known and least-experienced golfer" in the cast, so being eliminated first makes plenty of sense.
It seems Sheppard's career as a golfer began and ended right around the show aired in 2008. She had two very poor showings on the Cactus Tour in 2007 and later that year served 10 days in the clink for driving under the influence.
Carling Coffing appeared as a contestant on Big Break Sandals Resort in early 2010. She beat out Lili Alvarez with a 25-foot birdie on the 17th hole in the finale to win the entire season.
Coffing played collegiate golf at Ohio State, where she was named the Freshman Player of the Year in 2005 and was the runner-up at the 2006 Big Ten Conference Women's Championship. She was named All-Big Ten in 2006 and 2008.
Coffing's rookie year as a professional was 2007. In 2011 she played on the LPGA Futures Tour and in 2012 she joined the Symetra Tour.
Annie Brophy was a contestant on The Big Break: Ireland; she was eliminated on Episode 2 in second-to last-place. She was born and raised in Spokane, Wash., played collegiate golf at Notre Dame and is currently on the Symetra Tour.
Her season actually aired one year after she made headlines for cheating. In May 2010 Brophy was busted trying to give false scores during the final round of an NCAA tournament and was disqualified.
However, it was all just a misunderstanding, according to her. Brophy claimed she was just "goofing around," but didn't "think about the long-term effects and consequences of [her] actions," per The Huffington Post.
Nikki DiSanto appeared on The Big Break V: Hawaii but failed to impress with her golf skills. She was nearly eliminated in the first episode and actually eliminated in the second. In DiSanto's defense, she had never played a professional tournament prior to the show, making her by far the least experienced of the contestants.
Unlike many of the other players to have appeared on Big Break, it doesn't look like DiSanto did much in terms of a pro career. She mentions she's an "avid golfer" in her Model Mayhem bio, but clearly she's found it easier to pay the bills as a model and personal trainer.
Sara Brown competed on The Big Break Sandals Resort, finishing in third place, one episode shy of the season finale. She also appeared on The Big Break Dominican Republic. Brown played collegiate golf at Michigan State, where she was named the Female Athlete of the Year in 2007 and 2008.
Brown's rookie year in the professional ranks was in 2008 and since then she's accumulated just under $70,000 in career earnings. In June 2012 she won the Symetra Tour's My Marsh Golf Classic, which was her first professional win.
Kim Kouwabunpat was a contestant on The Big Break Prince Edward Island in 2009 and in the third episode became the first female eliminated that season. Born and raised in Southern California, she earned a full scholarship to play collegiate golf at Stanford.
Kouwabunpat has been playing golf professionally for six years and to date has competed on the LPGA Futures Tour, Canadian Women's Tour, Ladies Asian Golf Tour, Cactus Tour and the California Players Tour. She's had two pro wins and 12 top-five finishes during that time.
Christina Lecuyer appeared as a contestant on The Big Break Ka'napali; she finished in fourth place, having been eliminated in Week 10 of the competition. She also appeared again as part of the team competition on The Big Break Dominican Republic.
According to a Golf Channel bio, Lecuyer turned pro in 2008—and that's about all the information available. The bio on her personal website is extremely vague, noting only that she's "one of North America's best, and perhaps best looking, golf professionals."
Valeria Ochoa was a contestant on The Big Break III: Ladies Only, which was filmed almost a decade ago and aired in early 2005. She finished right in the middle of the pack, being the sixth woman eliminated on Episode 7.
Born and raised in Medellin, Columbia, Ochoa began playing golf at the age of six but ultimately gave it up by her late teens. It wasn't until she and her children moved to the U.S. years later that she began playing again.
Ochoa doesn't play professionally, but she's still involved with the game as a sales manager at a golf resort and an on air personality for Golf Channel Latinoamerica.
Mallory Blackwelder appeared as a contestant on The Big Break: Ireland in September 2011, the 16th season of the reality show. She made it to the final three before being being booted just one episode short of the finale.
After playing collegiate golf at the University of Kentucky, Blackwelder turned pro in 2010 and is currently touring on the LPGA Symetra Tour. Her career earnings to date are approaching $30K, with four top-10 finishes.
Blair O'Neal competed on The Big Break: Prince Edward Island in the summer of 2009. She made it all the way to the season finale before finishing as runner-up to Derek Gillespie. O'Neal was very successful as a four-year starter at Arizona State, having one the NCAA Long Drive Championship twice.
However, her professional career was quite brief. O'Neal had already called it quits three years prior to her appearance on the show, choosing instead to pursue a modeling career. She has made most lists of the hottest female athletes for nearly a decade—impressive since she hasn't really been an athlete for six years.
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